Sunday, February 08, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I saw the trailer for this film in December and thought ‘Meh. Looks like a bit of a laugh. Wouldn’t pay to see it though’.
Then I was informed twice in the same day that it was (and I quote) ‘amazing’ and ‘phenomenal’. So when I had the chance to see it last night, I went along.

Was it any good? Yes. Was it amazing/phenomenal? No.

Firstly, it was a very enjoyable watch – exciting, gripping, funny at times. A good cinematic experience.
The juxtaposition of the familiar Millionaire show with the unfamiliar setting of Indian shanty towns was very clever and worked well without seeming incongruous.
Technically the film was very good – the scenery was excellent, as was the acting.

The general idea was to show the life story of one boy, mostly in flashback. Think Forrest Gump in India. But what made Forrest Gump so good was the character of Gump, particularly his special needs. Jamal, in Slumdog, just isn’t very interesting.
The plot hangs on Jamal’s feelings for his childhood friend Latika. Some people will dispute this, but remember that he spends his whole life searching for her, he goes on Millionaire because he thinks she will be watching, the final scene is their reunion and even the movie poster has the caption “What does it take to find a lost love?” Unfortunately, the romance just isn’t convincing. They spend a few days together as children and a few hours together as teenagers, and we are expected to believe they are in love? I just don’t buy it. And the whole film hangs on you buying it.
Jamal’s brother, Salim, is by far the most interesting character, but is only a supporting character. This is frustrating, because Salim’s life story would, I believe, have been a far better story!

See the film if you want, it is a decent film to watch. But don’t expect to be fully satisfied. All the technical things are there – good cinematography, music, acting, script. But critically, the plot is flawed and most of the characters uninteresting.

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